Without any marquee names on their roster, the Bees will be counting on a collective effort from a mix of veterans and newcomers when they open the Pacific Coast League (PCL) postseason schedule at home, facing the Las Vegas 51s for two games on September 4-5. Roster continuity has been problematic, with 33 different pitchers and 29 different position players taking the field for Salt Lake over the course of the season.
Notably missing from the postseason roster is Trent Oeltjen, whose season ended abruptly on August 3 after being hit by a pitch that shattered his nose. Despite the early exit, Oeltjen ended the season leading the Bees in homeruns (14, tied for 10th in the league) and stolen bases (21, tied for 7th). Known for his all-out hustle and positive mental attitude, Oeltjen’s presence in the lineup will be missed during the heat of the playoffs.
The Bees secret weapon could very well be their coaching staff. Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson was named by Baseball America as the PCL’s “Best Manager Prospect” and by the league as the PCL’s “Manager of the Year.”
Second-year hitting coach Francisco Matos had the team finishing the season in the top-three rankings in the following offensive categories: .287 AVE (first in the league), 809 R (second) 136 HR (second), 756 RBI (second), 562 BB (second), 138 SB (third), .362 OBP (tied for first), .446 SLG (third), .808 OPS (second).